Sixth Circuit Again Rejects Pick-Off Attempt to End Class Action

In a brief opinion, the Sixth Circuit has again rejected a defendant’s attempt to moot a class action by offering full monetary relief to the named plaintiff.

In Conway v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, the Sixth Circuit was faced with a procedural posture where a defendant in a suit brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act offered the plaintiff judgment in his favor. Although the plaintiff decided against the offer, the district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and entered judgment in plaintiff’s favor, over his objections.

The Sixth Circuit reversed, explaining:

Because the intervening Supreme Court decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016), squarely resolves the central issue of this appeal, and because we have jurisdiction to say so, the district court’s dismissal and judgment must be set aside.

The Supreme Court has now made clear that an unaccepted offer of settlement or judgment, like the one PRA made to Conway, generally does not moot a case, even if the offer would fully satisfy the plaintiff’s demands for relief. Campbell-Ewald, 136 S. Ct. at 672.